Review of top notch electrode arrays for geoelectrical resistivity surveys


  • Henry Ekene Ohaegbuchu Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike
  • F. C. Anyadiegwu Department of Physics, College of Physical and Applied Sciences, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Nigeria.
  • P. O. Odoh Department of Physics, College of Physical and Applied Sciences, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Nigeria.
  • F. C. Orji Department of Physics, College of Physical and Applied Sciences, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Nigeria.


electrode arrays, wenner, schlumberger, dipole-dipole, pole-dipole, resistivity surveys.


The different arrangements of electrodes used in geoelectrical resistivity surveys and measurements are referred to as electrode arrays. In this review, we have revisited most of the widely used electrode arrays as well as the uncommon ones, which are nonetheless, useful in certain situations. This review has provided detailed information about eleven (11) of the top notch electrode arrays employable in our regular resistivity surveys, making it clear that in practice, the arrays that are most commonly used for 2-D imaging surveys are the Wenner, Dipole-Dipole, Wenner-Schlumberger, Pole-Pole and the Pole-Dipole arrays. They have their strengths and weaknesses. They are typically described by their signal-to-noise ratio. Their depth of investigation, ability for lateral location of the target and their mapping abilities of horizontal layers or steeply dipping structures among other factors determine which array to adopt.


Al-Ani, J. M., (1998). Theoretical and application considering the effect of the geometry on Schlumberger and dipole configurations, PhD thesis (in Arabic), University of Baghdad, College of Science, 144P.

AL-Menshed, F. H. (2018). How To Understand Theoretical Background Of Electrical Resistivity Method In A Simple Way. 10.1007/1-1020-1102-5_6.

Al-Menshed, F. H. (2011) Evaluation of resistivity method in delineation ground water hydrocarbon contamination southwest of Karbala city. PhD Thesis, Dept. of Geology, College of Science, University of Baghdad, p 210

Alpin, L. M. (1950). The Theory of Dipole Soundings. Gostoptekhizdat, Moscow.

Barker, R., (1989). The offset system of electrical resistivity sounding and its use with a multi-core cable. Geophysical Prospecting, Vol. 29, p.p. 128-143.

Battacharya, P.K. and Petra, H. P. (1968). Direct current geoelectrical sounding. Elsevier Publishing Co., Amsterdam, 131 p.

Binley, Andrew & Kemna, Andreas. (2005). DC Resistivity and Induced Polarization Methods. 10.1007/1-4020-3102-5_5. DOI:

Busby, J. P. (2000). The effectiveness of azimuthal apparent-resistivity measurements as a method for determining fracture strike orientations, Geophysical Prospecting, Vol. 48, p.p. 677-695.

Dahlin, T. (1989). The development of a cable system for vertical electrical sounding and a comparison of the Schlumberger and offset Wenner methods. Licentiate thesis. Lund University, 77 p.p.

Dahlin, T. and Bernstone, C. (1997). A roll-along technique for 3D resistivity data acquisition with multi-electrode array. Proceedings of the Symposium on the Application of geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems, Reno, Nevada, Vol. 2, p.p. 927-935. DOI:

Dahlin, T. and Zhou, B. (2004). A numerical comparison of 2D resistivity imaging with 10 electrode arrays. Geophysical Prospecting, Vol.52, p.p. 379–398. DOI:

Deppermann, K. (1954). Die Abhangigkeit des scheinbaren Widerstandes vom Sondenabstand bei der Vierpunkt-Methode: Geophys. Prosp., v. 2, p. 262-273. DOI:

Habbberjam, G. M. (1979). Apparent resistivity observations and the use of square array techniques. Geoexploration Monographs, series 1, No. 9, 152 p.

Heiland, C. A. (1940). Geophysical exploration: New York, Prentice-Hall, 1013 p. Jackson, D. B., 1966, Deep resistivity probes in the southwestern United States: Geophysics, v. 31, p. 1123-1144.

Keller, G.V. and Frischknecht, F.C. (1966). Electrical Methods in Geophysical Prospecting. Pergamon Press, New York.

Kunetz, G. (1966). Principle of direct current resistivity prospecting. Borntrager, Berlin,106p.

Nunn, K. R., Barker, R. D., and Bamford, D. (1983). In-situ seismic and electrical measurements of fracture anisotropy in the Lincolnshire chalk. Quart. J. Eng. Geol., Vol. 16, p.p. 187-195. DOI:

Oldenburg, D.W. (1978). A quantitative technique for modeling ionospheric and magnetospheric current distributions. V. 83, IssueA7, P 3320-3326. DOI:

Osiensky, J. L. (1997). Ground water modeling of mise-a-la-masse delineation of contaminated ground water plumes, J. Hydrol. , 197 , 146–165, 1997. DOI:

Roy, A. (1972). Depth of investigation in Wenner, three electrode and dipole – dipole DC resistivity methods. Geophysical Prospecting, Vol.20, p.p. 329-340. DOI:

Sjodahl, P., 2006: Resistivity investigation and monitoring for detection of internal erosion and anomalous seepage in embankment dams. Doctoral Thesis, Lund University, 86 p.p.

Steinich, B.; Simon, I.; Chavarria, J. A. and Marin, L. E. (1997). Geological investigations of the vadose zone in the valley of Hermosillo aquifer, Sonora, Mexico. Geofisica Internacional, Vol. 36, No. 3, p.p. 191-200.

Szalai, S.; Koppan, A. and Szarka, L. (2007). Effect of positional inaccuracies on multi- electrode results. 13th European Meeting of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics, Istanbul, turkey.

Taylor, R. W., and Fleming, A. H. (1988). Characterizing jointed systems by azimuthal resistivity surveys. Ground Water, Vol. 26, p.p. 464–474. DOI:

Telford, W.M.; Geldart, L.P. and Sheriff, R.E. (1990). Applied geophysics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England, 770 p.p. DOI:

Van Nostrand, R.G. and Cook, K.L. (1966). Interpretation of resistivity data; USGS Professional Paper; Series number 499; U. S. Govt.

Zohdy, A. A. (1970). Geometric factors of Bipole-Dipole arrays. U.S. Geological Survey, New Techniques in Direct-Current Resistivity Exploration.

Zohdy, A.A., (1989). A new method for the automatic interpretation of Schlumberger and Wenner sounding curves. Geophysics, Vol. 54, No. 2, p.p. 245-253. DOI:

Zohdy, A.A.; Eaton, G.P., and Mabey, D.R., 1974: Application of surface geophysics to ground-water investigations. U.S. Geological Survey, Techniques of water-resource investigations, 116 p.p.



How to Cite

Ohaegbuchu, H. E., Anyadiegwu, F. C. ., Odoh, P. O., & Orji, F. C. (2020). Review of top notch electrode arrays for geoelectrical resistivity surveys. Journal of the Nigerian Society of Physical Sciences, 1(4), 147–155.



Review Article